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Brief Report
Peer-Review Record

Biological Control of the Raspberry Eriophyoid Mite Phyllocoptes gracilis Using Entomopathogenic Fungi

Horticulturae 2021, 7(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7030054
Reviewer 1: Anonymous
Reviewer 2: Anonymous
Reviewer 3: Matan Shelomi
Reviewer 4: Anonymous
Horticulturae 2021, 7(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/horticulturae7030054
Received: 26 January 2021 / Revised: 15 March 2021 / Accepted: 15 March 2021 / Published: 18 March 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microbe-Assisted Production of Horticultural Crops)

Round 1

Reviewer 1 Report

Developing efficacious tools for the control of mites that attack plants is an important undertaking.  The current study was appropriately designed and performed.  However, my main concern with this study is the high percent mortality in the control group.  As the authors point out, this may be due to rearing the mites under sub-optimal conditions.  If this is true, I would ask whether or not the results of this study are trustworthy?  I suggest the authors wait to publish their results until rearing and experimental conditions are improved to the extent that control mortality is below 10%.

I have included some technical questions/suggestions in the attached pdf.

Comments for author File: Comments.pdf

Author Response

Please see the attachment.

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 2 Report

In present short communication, authors have presented a preliminary data for the biological control of Phyllocoptes gracilis Nalepa. The manuscript is written nicely but before publication it needs some improvement. 

a. I would like to see a graph of dataset instead of table. So please convert table 1 into a graph which will  be easily understandable. 

b. Check minor typos in the manuscript, one such is in abstract "Fungal spore suspensions (1 x 107 spores per ml)" values should be corrected.

 

 

Author Response

Please see the attachment

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 3 Report

The paper is sound, novel, and well-written. Minor typos I noticed or changes I would make:

47 "of the Research Institute, Earth, Nature, Environment of Hepia"
49 extra ")"
86 "The anteriors of the mites were"
87 delete "after"
135 italicize A. guerrronis
144 "economic"

Author Response

Please see the attachment

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Reviewer 4 Report

The authors present a succinct account of a potential biological control method for an eriophyoid mite using entomopathogenic fungi. It is generally well written, but I have a few concerns around statistics, references and conclusions.  These are outlined below among other comments.

Line 17: italicise P. gracilis; Line 30: reference after "losses"; Line 38: reference after "health"; Line 40: Has anyone tried or worked on something similar? Line 74: "cut from" not "cut on"; Line 76: "infected" with insects or something else.  Better to use "infested" for insects; Line 75: repeat citation of "14"; Line 82: repeat mention of growth chamber, suggest "as above" or similar; Line 86: "mite`s" what part? "Fine tool", please be more specific as it could be a single hair paintbrush or a metal seeker; Lines 85-94: I am somewhat confused by the statistics section.  First one of the key considerations of using most parametric statistics, such as ANOVA, is that the data set has no upper limit (i.e. for total counts);  However, the authors convert mortality data to percentages, which imposes an upper limit.  Then instead of including the standard error of the mean they use SD, which is more normally associated with non-parametric data sets.  Line 88: just "R software" not "the R software"; Line 88-93: please indicate the biological data, not the statistics (i.e. "pairs of means").  Data sets are being compared not the mean values; Lines 93-94: it may be journal style, but it is usual to use a shorthand i.e. "Tukey`s test was used to compare data sets on each day (P < 0.05)". Within the results (lines 96 to 109) the authors use non standard terms which are not precise, such as "Global statistical analysis" and lose the biology along the way.  In fact "Global...level 0.05" does not mention any biologicy at all, getting lost in statistical terminology.  I am not sure what "p-values of 0.026, 7.7 x 10-6 and 3.3 x 10-9 at significance level of 0.05" means.  This should be re-written to something like "mortality was different after 3, 5 and 7 days (p < 0.05)"  But the authors do not ever say (lines 98-104) whether mortality was higher or lower. 

I can`t read the lettering in Table 1; it is more usual to have mean +/- sd in one column and in the form x.x +/- x.xx.  I don`t follow the footnote DAT etc.; why are the authors using alpha?

Line 121: The authors need to be clear what cuticular barriers are as eriophyid mites have a cuticle, but it is more penetrable than hard bodied invertebrates.  Lines 120-131: there are missing italics; Line 124 "on other eriophyid mites".  Line 136-137: I would have thought that preliminary experiments would have been conducted to establish optimum rearing conditions.  This stress in all likelihood made the test subject more susceptible.  A controlled chamber should be the gold standard to see the effects under optimal controlled conditions. Field- or glasshouse-tests are a different matter.  Lines 138-139: this should have been done first.

 

Author Response

Please see the attachment

Author Response File: Author Response.pdf

Round 2

Reviewer 1 Report

The authors have adequately addressed my concerns.  In doing so, they have strengthened the paper and I have no other modifications to suggest.

Author Response

Thank you for your valuable inputs.

As suggested by the editor, we have reanalyzed the data as follow: in order to analyze the effects of the two categorical predictors (treatment and day after inoculation) on mite survival 3, 5 and 7 days after inoculation, we fitted generalized linear models (GLM) to our data with a binomial error distribution and a logit link function. We used the emmeans function for comparing group means of significant variables (P < 0.05). See updated manuscript.

Reviewer 4 Report

The authors have addressed most of the concerns raised in my previous review.  The lack of optmisation remains an issue despite the contention that it was an evaluation-study for EF, but I will leave it to the Editors to decide if this is significant enough to preclude publication.

Author Response

Thank you for your valuable inputs.

As you suggested and upon request from the editor, we have reanalyzed the data as follow: in order to analyze the effects of the two categorical predictors (treatment and day after inoculation) on mite survival 3, 5 and 7 days after inoculation, we fitted generalized linear models (GLM) to our data with a binomial error distribution and a logit link function. We used the emmeans function for comparing group means of significant variables (P < 0.05). See updated manuscript.

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